Amazing   Kangaroo  Facts

   A Kangaroo is a marsupial mammal. It is a macropod which means "big foot".
   When European explorers first saw these strange hopping animals they asked a native Australian (aborigine) what they were called. He replied "kangaroo" meaning "I don't understand" your question. The explorers thought this was the animal's name. And that's how the kangaroo got its name.
   The Kangaroo moves by hopping on its powerful hind legs. It uses its thick long tail to balance its body while hopping. A kangaroo can hop at up to 60kmh (40mph). It can also leap over obstacles up to 3m (10ft) high.
   Because of the unusual shape of its legs and its bulky tail a kangaroo can't walk or move backwards very easily.
   A male kangaroo is called a boomer, and a female is called a flyer.
   If you lift a kangaroo's tail off the ground, it can't hop. Roos use their tail for balance.
   Male kangaroos do not have pouches.
   There are 47 varieties of kangaroo, ranging in size from the two-pound rock wallaby to the 6-foot, 300-pound red kangaroo.
   Kangaroos live up to 20 years in captivity, but only six in the wild.
   Kangaroos are found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Most are terrestrial and all are herbivorous, grazing and browsing for their food.
   Each long, narrow hind foot has four toes. The short forelimbs are used almost like human arms, but the thumb is not opposable.
   Kangaroos possess soft, wooly fur, and some have stripes on the head, back, or upper limbs.
   All kangaroos have a chambered stomach that is functionally similar to those of such ruminants as cattle and sheep. They regurgitate the vegetation they have eaten, chew it as cud, and then swallow it again for final digestion.
   Kangaroos need very little water to survive and are capable of going for months without drinking at all. When they do need water, they dig "wells" for themselves, frequently going as deep as three or four feet.
   Kangaroos travel in groups (mobs) under the leadership of the largest male ("old man," or "boomer"), which dominates younger rivals by biting, kicking, and boxing.
   Kangaroos usually have one young annually. The young kangaroo, or joey, is born alive at a very immature stage, when it is only about 2 cm long and weighs less than a gram. Immediately after birth it crawls up the mother's body and enters the pouch. The baby attaches its mouth to one of four teats, which then enlarges to hold the young animal in place. After several weeks, the joey becomes more active and gradually spends more and more time outside the pouch, which it leaves completely between 7 and 10 months of age. Female kangaroos enter into heat within a few days after giving birth; they mate and conceive, but after only one week's development the microscopic embryo enters a dormant state that lasts until the previous young leaves the pouch. The development of the second embryo then resumes and proceeds to birth after a gestation period of about 30 days.


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